An Empirical Study of Patent Grant Rates as a Function of Race and Gender
57 American Business Law Journal 281 (2020)
39 Pages Posted: 17 Jul 2020 Last revised: 26 Jul 2022
Date Written: June 24, 2020
In this article, we examine the rate at which patent applications are granted as a function of the inventor’s race and gender. Empirical analysis of more than 3.9 million United States applications finds minority and women applicants are significantly less likely to secure a patent relative to the balance of inventors. Further analysis indicates that a portion of this bias is introduced during prosecution at the Patent Office, independent of the quality of the application. Mechanisms underlying these disparities are explored. The paper concludes with a discussion of our results and their interaction with patent law, innovation policy, and employment trends.
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